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Government needs to offer constructive solutions to passport crisis

23 March, 2010 - by Martin Ferris TD


Sinn Féin Workers’ Rights spokesperson Martin Ferris has called on the government to engage constructively with unions representing workers in the passport office. Ferris said the situation is being ignored by a government content to let the public lay the blame for this crisis at the door of low-paid workers in the passport office rather than with the economic policies this government is pursuing and which pre-empted the work-to-rule. He said the public could not be denied their right to essential services because of the government's failure to fix the economy fairly.

Ferris said:

“Undoubtedly the public are suffering as a result of work stoppages in the passport office and they should not be denied this essential service. However, the low and average paid-workers in that office are protesting at the attacks on their pay and livelihoods. There are people in the public service that, following the latest pay cuts are almost eligible for Family Income Support. This situation has been exacerbated by the decision of the government to reverse the cuts to the highest paid civil servants.

“This government has followed a strategy of pitting private worker against public, and now the public against state workers, because it serves as a distraction to its failure to address a deepening economic crisis. They have failed to listen to proposals for a new and fair approach to fixing the economy. They have failed to engage constructively with those who are interested in seeing us emerge from the crisis with our society intact. Instead of engaging with the workers in these offices, they are stirring the pot of discontent.

“The government has and continues to act shamefully towards lower-paid workers across all sectors. Their inaction on this issue is further evidence of their distaste for the rights of ordinary workers. The government is not concerned about what the public is being forced to endure now because it is the least of what this government is trying to deny them. Meanwhile Irish citizens are bereft of access to an essential service. This situation cannot continue.” ENDS

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